Pierre Bélanger is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Co-Director of the MDes Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. As part of the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Advanced Studies Program, he teaches and coordinates graduate courses on the convergence of ecology, infrastructure and urbanism in the interrelated fields of design, planning and engineering.
Responding to the growing inertia of urban planning and the overexertion of civil engineering in public works today, Bélanger has formulated the term “landscape infrastructure” used today by governments, professionals and academics worldwide to designate how the field of landscape is redefining the morphology of urban infrastructure in research, pedagogy and practice vis-à-vis the complexities of sub-urbanization and super-urbanization. Foregrounding and augmenting the biophysical landscape of living systems that has been marginalized by the historical divide between economy and ecology of industrial economies, the double-entendre of the landscape infrastructure project aims to reposition the agency of ecology as a sophisticated, instrumental system of essential services, resources, processes and agents that underpin contemporary urban economies towards the 22nd century.
Cited by urbanists such as AbdouMaliq Simone, Elizabeth K. Meyer and Dirk Sijmons, Bélanger’s research work is published in planning, design and engineering journals and books including Journal of Landscape Architecture, Ecological Urbanism, New Geographies, Landscape Journal, Topos, The Landscape Urbanism Reader, Geoinformatics, Journal of Tunneling and Underground Space Technology, Trash, Food, and Canadian Architect. Bélanger’s most recent publications include Landscape Infrastructure: Urbanism Beyond Engineering (2012), The Agronomic Landscape (2011), Regionalization (2010), Redefining Infrastructure (2010), Power Perestroika (2010), Landscape as Infrastructure (2009), Landscapes of Disassembly (2007), Synthetic Surfaces (2007), Foodshed: The Cosmopolitan Infrastructure of the Ontario Food Terminal (2007) and Airspace: The Economy and Ecology of Landfilling in Michigan (2006). Bélanger has received several international prizes in planning and design competitions including Switzerland's 2011 Dübendorf Airport Competition, Australia’s Sea Change 2030+ Competition, ASLA’s 2010 Professional Awards, EDRA’s 2010 Great Places Awards, the 2009 World Sustainability Centre Competition, 2G’s 2008 Venice Lagoon Competition, the AIA’s 2007 Columbus Rewired Design Competition, the 2007 Chicago Prize, and the Architectural Association 2006 Environmental Tectonics Competition. Bélanger is recipient of the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
As a member of the internationally recognized Harvard Project on the City led by architect and urbanist Rem Koolhaas, Bélanger completed graduate studies for the Masters in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design where he received the Janet Darling Webel and Norman T. Newton Prizes in design. Prior to that, he worked as a project manager for Brinkman & Associates, Canada’s largest reforestation and bioengineering contractor. Bélanger is professionally registered as a Landscape Architect and Urban Planner as well as certified in Canada as a Surface Miner, skilled in precision earthmoving and heavy equipment operations.
Combining knowledge from the earth, engineering and economic sciences, Bélanger collaborates with government agencies, resource industries, regional authorities, professional organizations, universities, corporations and a team of interdisciplinary practitioners in the reclamation of regional systems and large urban landscapes. Through the inception of the Landscape Infrastructure Lab in 2006 (a federally incorporated, non-profit, design-research organization in Canada), Bélanger initiates and coordinates a portfolio of projects funded by public/private partnerships that include the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Transport Canada, Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Cadillac Fairview Corporation, Waste Management Inc., the City of Toronto, Aéroport Régional de Mont-Joli, the Charles River Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.